‘What a team’
These were the words of our learned supporter, Sheriff B. Lockhart when he was informed of the result on his holiday in Nice. Yes he was still thinking about the team when on holiday!
This is the final match report of season 2016-17
Accies played Orkney on the 8th of April 17.
Ladies and gentlemen, your team of 2016-17
I believe I am not alone in feeling that this has been one of the most enjoyable seasons to be involved with Accies, whether as a player (a long time ago) or as a supporter. This season’s team has developed into a strong unit, on and off the pitch and have played some of the best 15 man rugby it has been my pleasure to watch.
So to the game and what a final game it proved to be:
The boys were clearly in end of term mood and perhaps causing the coaches some concern as to their usual focused approach. The early kick (11.00am) was to allow Orkney to return to Aberdeen to catch their return ferry, back home. However this early start seemed to be suited the supporters who had arrived in good numbers to enjoy a welcoming bacon roll and some bucks fizz! The gods had decided to join in on the special mood and had organised the weather so that the sun shone down (as John Mitchell can testify) on a perfect pitch as the two teams entered the fray!
It was only two weeks ago that Accies, plus a good travelling support had travelled to Orkney for the first encounter, and after a tough match, the team emerged victorious by 29 – 7. So there was an expectation of a tough encounter this week.
It took Accies 3 minutes to get points on the board, when after some typical handling and support rugby it was the ever reliable ‘PJ’ Rankin who was on hand to take the scoring pass and touch down wide out on the right. A tough conversion was just missed. 5 – 0
It was however not the silky smooth passing and handling that we have become accustomed. Whether it was a slight end of season attitude, that I mentioned earlier or the feeling of the warm sun on their backs, but they were not firing on all cylinders. However they were still causing Orkney trouble and it was not a surprise to see Brad Bell cross for the second try. Stewart Gray had clearly switched on his radar and converted. 12 – 0
Orkney seemed to have woken up and from a beautiful restart were putting Accies under pressure for the first time. Accies were defending well but an infringement at a ruck gave the Orkney kicker an easy penalty chance. 12 – 3
This clearly was a wakeup call for Accies and they raised the tempo, both in attack and defence. It was as a direct result of this aggressive defence that gave Stewart Gray the chance to patch onto a loose pass and scamper home for a good try. Stewart converted his own try 19 – 3
Orkney were still trying to get into the game and spent a good 10 minutes camped inside Accies half but it has to be said they were never really challenging Accies try line. Once again from good turnover ball two quick passes saw Ross Cowan in the clear just inside his own half. He left several opponents just wondering how they had missed him, but they had, and he romped in under the posts. 26 – 3
Almost from the restart, Accies again produced turnover ball and went down the narrow side just in front of the stand. A beautifully timed pass put the lively Chris Jubb, into the gap and after a good run he drew the covering defender and set Ruaridh Hood on his way and when the last line of defence bore down on Ruaridh he slipped a beautiful pass back inside to the supporting Chris Jubb who romped home for another try. 33 – 3
We were now watching the flowing 15 man rugby that has been bringing the supporters out in strength. Good running by the forwards with superb off loads produce space for the backs to exploit and Stewart Gray once again found himself in the clear. He was only prevented from scoring by a high tackle by one of the desperate Orkney defenders. The referee was on the spot and awarded a penalty try and a yellow card for the errant Orkney player. 40 – 3
Half – time 40 – 3
The coaches decided that they would give some of the bench an opportunity to get involved and Fraser Wilson very quickly got in on the act, when he was given a bit of space on his wing, he stepped on the gas and went past his opposite number and score wide out. 45 – 3
It was clear that Orkney were still putting up a good defence and at a ruck inside Accies 22 the referee decided that Ruaridh Wilson’s infringement was deserving of a yellow card, so Accies were down to 14 men. This did not seem to diminish Accies approach and with a flowing move along the backs, and the intrusion of Ross Cowan, they created enough space for the enthusiastic, Kris Mathie to side step his way over for a well-deserved try. 52 – 3
When Accies were awarded a penalty 70 metres from the opposition line, some quick thinking by Ross Cowan, a quick tap saw him beat several defenders and create the opening for the supporting Stewart Gray, who was clearly having a superb day, to take the pass and run in under the posts. 59 – 3
The next try could well go down as one of the best tries that anyone has seen at New Anniesland. A superbly controlled scrum allowed Ryan Sweeney to pick up and start a series of passed that left Kris Mathie a run in to score. That did not really do the try justice as every player involved took his pass drew his opponent with great lines of running and timed passes. The move was within 10 metres of the touch line and the ball was in each player’s hands for only seconds. The three opponents were left wondering how Accies had moved the ball so quickly and been able to draw the defenders so completely. Quality rugby! I have to say that any professional players would have been impressed. 66 – 3
Fraser Wilson was clearly hungry for the ball and within what seemed like minutes had scored two simple and well executed tries, with one being converted. 78 – 3
The second last try was a piece of mercurial magic from Captain Stewart Gray. He took the ball 20 metres to the try line and seeing Ross Cowan coming on at pace, he popped a superbly weighted kick that Ross ran through and collected as he crossed the line. 83 – 3
Finally Fraser Wilson bagged his fourth try after superb running and passing from inside Accies 22, quick hands and superb offloads to the supporting runners, produced a try that typifies what this team have been producing all season. Stewart finished of the match with the conversion.
Final Score 90 – 3
This has been a fantastic season and despite missing out on promotion the players can be justifiably proud of their efforts and team spirit. They have played superb 15 man rugby which has been enjoyed by an ever increasing number of supporters who are being entertained each week. The statistics show that they scored 930 points and having the best point’s advantage at 600 in the league. The points for is the highest number of points scored in any of the Scottish leagues.
Played 22 won 15 lost 4 drawn 3,
Points for 930,against 330,
15 try bonus points and 1 losing
A great season!